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Alberta mulls oil sands review board

EDMONTON, Alberta, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A bill introduced to provincial leaders in Alberta, Canada, targets best practices in oil sands development, an environmental minister said.

Diana McQueen, Alberta's minister of environment and sustainable resource development, introduced Bill 31 to lawmakers Monday. It would create a new environmental monitoring and reporting agency for oil sands developments in the province.

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"We're building a monitoring system to understand environmental impacts and help us manage responsible development," she said in a statement.

If passed, the agency would start its work early next year. The provincial government said the agency would be able to provide the "best possible" data to make the "best possible" decisions on responsible resource development.

"It is extremely important that we make sure that measuring, recording, interpreting and reporting takes place in order for Alberta to make the best resource management decisions," Howard Tennant, chairman of Alberta's environmental management board, said in a statement.

In January, Canadian researchers published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America on the legacy of oil sands development in the Athabasca region of Alberta province. It said the volume of potentially toxic hydrocarbons in lake sediment near Canadian oil sands "increased significantly" after development.

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